My mother-in-law died last week. She turned 94 last October, so her passing wasn’t unexpected. In addition to dementia (which prevented verbal communication), she suffered congestive heart failure. Bed-bound over the last six months, she slipped away quietly in her sleep. That was a blessing.
Previously in this space, I’ve shared tidbits about the complex relationship betwixt my mother-in-law and myself. Certainly, I have always admired my in-laws for crafting a long-term marriage. I’m sure they had their share of struggles … but they celebrated 65 years together before my father-in-law’s death.
Even before Charlotte died on March 1, my Beloved and I pondered how we would honor her life and memory. A number of years ago, she expressed her wish to have her remains cremated and to have the ashes mingled with those of her husband. Besides her four sons (and their families), most all her friends and relations had preceded her in death.
Yes, there’s a tribute to her memory on the funeral chapel website but (to me) that seems wholly inadequate as a commemoration of her life – Her Life! – that spanned nearly 95 years! Though my words will prove insufficient, I simply must honor my departed mother-in-law here and now!
She was born in October 1922 in small-town Mayetta, Kansas, the firstborn child of Charles Frederick Robson and Alta Ilene (Johnson) Robson. Fred was a rural mail carrier and Alta (14 years younger than her husband) was a homemaker. They named their daughter Daisy Charlotte Robson, Daisy to honor her maternal grandmother, Charlotte to honor her paternal grandmother. Somewhere along the way, Charlotte decided she preferred being called by her middle name.
Charlotte’s only sibling, a younger brother, Burt Amos Robson, arrived four years later. Sadly, he was only 24 years of age when he was killed in action in Korea.
She met and married her husband Max when she was twenty years old. Together, they parented four sons, all of whom married and blessed them with grandchildren (10) who have, in turn, produced great-grandchildren (18 at last count).
Those are the facts. I wish I could write more. I wish I could explain why Charlotte chose one grandmother’s name over the other. I wish I’d been privileged to know her heart and understand something about her relationship with her parents and her brother. Because I married her second son, I wish-wish-wish she’d had the ability to welcome me into her family as a daughter rather than view me as a rival.
Still, I rejoice in (and honor) her life. I am grateful for her loving devotion to my Beloved (and his siblings). My Beloved is a tender, compassionate soul, thanks (in part) to her motherly efforts.
I titled this post Inscrutable Daisy because – despite being her daughter-in-law for more than 46 years – it saddens me to realize there is no longer the possibility to know her better! She was (and will remain) a mystery. James 4:14-17 tells us life is “a mist,” appearing for a little while before it vanishes. Indeed. Do good today and love deeply for as long as God affords you the opportunity.